Welcome Back from the CIO

Dear SJU Colleagues:

Welcome back to a new school year!  While summer feels like a distant memory, I hope you had the opportunity to relax and re-energize yourself during the summer months.   I’d like to take a moment and share the latest news and updates from the Office of Information Technology.

IT Strategic Plan

As many of you know, IT has been working on a new strategic plan that will support the University’s Plan 2020: Gateway to the Future. The plan focuses on 4 key themes:

  • Deliver technology-based solutions
    • Optimize technology resources
      • Engage the community
        • Sustain the technology infrastructure

Together, these themes show what IT “DOES” for the University and provide  the IT organization greater focus and clarity in how we can best support our administrators, faculty, staff and students in achieving institutional goals.   In the months to come, we pledge to become a more proactive, collaborative and responsive partner for the University community.

We’d like to thank all of you who have provided guidance in our plan development.  Through planning sessions, open forums, and individual conversations, you have played a critical role in helping us understand your needs and define our shared goals for the future.  We sincerely thank you for your assistance.

Look for more information about the new IT Strategic Plan during the Fall semester.

Post Learning Commons

Construction was happening just about everywhere on campus this summer. From the new Villiger Residence Hall construction project, the renovations of the Campus Commons and new athletic fields on the Maguire Campus to the renovated entrance to Barbelin Hall.  IT has been involved in most of these projects whether it’s installing or re-routing data cable, deploying new network electronics or installing new presentation technology.

The one construction project in which IT has been most involved is the Post Learning Commons.  IT has collaborated with the Drexel Library staff to determine the technology needs for the Commons and how best to support the new services and facilities once the Commons opens.  Recently, technology bids for the Commons were received from prospective vendors and a contract award is expected by the end of September.  Voice, data and audio/visual services will be installed in the Commons later this fall.  When the Learning Commons opens for the spring 2012 term, the combined Library and Commons space will house over 120 computer work stations, 24 collaborative study rooms, a digital media zone, reading room and much more.   We hope the Learning Commons will become a hub of collaborative activities and stimulate the teaching and learning process for our faculty and students.

Web Site Refresh

In partnership with the Office of Marketing Communications and with the assistance of an outside vendor, Web Services continues to work through the planning and design phases of the Web Site Refresh project. With the goal of leap-frogging our competitors, we are putting together what we hope will be a world-class web presence for SJU that will increase our effectiveness in recruiting all types of students to the University.

The new design of the public web site (www.sju.edu) is sleek, filled with interactive content, and contains “immersive imagery” that gives online visitors a sense of what our campus is like. Initial feedback from a number of focus groups on campus as well as a focus group of high school students was very positive. So, we feel that we are on the right track and are continuing to build out the new www.sju.edu.

During the fall semester, we will be holding a number of meetings with key stakeholders around campus to get more feedback and input in the new design.

Technology Enhancements in the Classroom and Beyond

During the summer months, IT has been busy completing technology enhancements to a number of classrooms across campus.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • New technology has been installed in Connelly Hall including a teaching lab and three classrooms;
  • Projectors and computers have been replaced in over twenty-five classrooms as part of our classroom renewal program;
  • Refurbished systems have been installed in five classrooms in Mandeville, Barbelin and the Science Center;
  • Finally, new technology will be installed in the remaining six classrooms in Bellarmine during the intersession.

Presentation technology has been upgraded the President’s Lounge and new technology installed for the Student Education Support Services which has been relocated to Bellarmine.

Other Notable Technology Stuff

You might be interested to learn about these other IT activities:

  • The campus wireless network was extended to new locations including the Campus Commons, the O’Pake Recreation Complex, Gabriel Hall and Fine Arts East.   As part of a spring 2011 survey, we learned about several wireless coverage holes in McShain Hall and addressed these over the summer.
  • Plans are being developed to replace our current voice messaging system which is thirteen years old and can no longer be serviced.
  • New integration software was developed to support the launch of electronic billing services for students and parents.  New custom software was developed to streamline meal plan management and permit student to select and upgrade their meal plans using MySJU.
  • New software was implemented to allow faculty to accept course-based compensation and contracts (i.e. overload or adjunct assignments) online.  The new software replaced an outdated, paper-based process and allowed for more efficient management of faculty compensation.

In closing, I hope you have a productive fall term and look forward to seeing you on campus.

Sincerely,

Fran DiSanti ’79
CIO